Get out oh-Gordy-December and what a relief you are, Mrs-Pale-Fresh-January.

The Atlantic gales are battering these shores and the electric lights are flickering uncertainly.  Our noisy Christmas heads require some peace and I cant wait for your scrubbed up bare earthiness.  When in my kitchen I shall play my collection of Faures piano concertos and simmer brothy soups with angel hair pasta and parmesan. Moments of lowness can be salved with honey crumpets and tea or perhaps a late night nugget of crumbly dark chocolate and a tot of Madeira: it is the dashes of luxxe  amidst a Quaker- back-to-basics that steers me through to Feb.

This is the month of fresh new diaries, new plans, new journeys. Scrubbed wood and stone. Jars of Paper whites and Hyacinths light up a mantel or a ledge while their scent wafts together gracefully with the smoke of the open fire.  Score under last year and look forward to all that shall play out before you.

So sharpen your pencils and make some plans and be glad about it…

  • Force some Rhubarb. Invest in a beautiful old vintage forcer or use an old chimney with a pretty plate over the top.
  • Plant some Sweet Pea seeds. In fact this is the perfect time of year to do so. I love Matucana with its contrasting colour and beautiful scent.
  • Prune your fruit trees. Cut out all the dead and weak branches.
  • Mulch all your hedges and shrubs.
  • Plant an apple or pear in readiness to train as an espallier over the course of next few years.
  • If you haven’t already done so, plant some garlic.
  • Plant some bare root roses
  • Plant a hedge. Hornbeam and beech are classic British natives provide wildlife habitat. If you can, how much lovelier than a fence!
  • Find a friend with a colony of snowdrops and lift a clump to plant in the green to start your own.
  • Order new seeds and work out your plot.
  • Continue to tidy the garden. The rain allows the easy removal of weeds… it has not been so cold yet that they have become dormant.